Why Saying NO is Important, Sometimes

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One morning as a senior in high school, one of the special education teachers asked to see me. This wasn’t unusual. First period for me was being a senior peer helper in the special education department. What she had to tell me before first period was unexpected, however. She had arranged for a person from a college for people with disabilities to come interview me about a full scholarship to that college. I was stunned. I didn’t ask for the interview and was already accepted on an academic scholarship at a “regular college.” I felt myself going to lose it and told her I promised to meet my now chosen brothers before first period like always. She smiled and nodded.

When I was around the corner out of sight: I pushed my joystick (what makes my chair move) full throttle. I needed my boys. When I got there, they knew something was wrong. After hugs of support, I explained. Their reactions were a mix of disbelief and anger on my behalf. What do I do? I don’t want or need this interview. I didn’t even ask for it. “When is it?” In a couple of weeks, apparently. Their advice was straight forward and logical, which is what I needed. “Say no thanks, tell her to call her friend, and cancel the interview. Explain you are already accepted on a scholarship somewhere else.” I think she knows I said looking at my now chosen brother and journey partner. “I’m sure she does which is why I can’t figure why she would do this.” I have a theory.

I told him I thought this stemmed from last year. “The whole absurd suicidal thing at your end of the year accommodation meeting to talk about this year?” Yeah, I think people are underestimating my ability again because of my CP. He nodded. The rest watched our interaction. “Do what was suggested right here minutes earlier. Can I offer one more suggestion?” I nodded eagerly. He walked over and put his hands on my shoulders. Looking me square in the eyes he said three words: “Prove them wrong.” I’m going to I said with a grin and determination written all over my face. They all laughed giving me more hugs for courage. I love you all I said as the five-minute bell rang. “We love you, too. Go take care of it and spare no detail at lunch.” I nodded with another grin.

I did just as they suggested. She wasn’t happy. Explaining she had called in a favor to get me the interview. You didn’t ask me anything about it. You told me this morning. It’s an out of state college. I’m accepted in state with a full academic scholarship. “Your parents need to be involved in your decision.” They were I said. I’m saying no because I can as a legal adult, now, in the state of Georgia and every other state in this country. I’m betting om myself and how smart I am. However, go ahead call my dad at work. There’s a phone in this department. I’ll give you his cell number if you’d like.

She declined my offer having met Dad the year before. He’s protective of me, always has my back, and she knew it. She did what I asked unhappily, and I did prove everybody who doubted me in high school wrong. That’s great motivation I continue to use as fuel daily to keep thriving and living a full life despite my condition. She will never know, unless she comes across this blog, because I cut ties with everyone who hurt me in high school. Knowing it myself is more than good enough for me.

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